Afghan refugee carries drowned daughter in Turkey’s west

Afghan refugee carries drowned daughter in Turkey’s west

İZMİR – Doğan News Agency
Afghan refugee carries drowned daughter in Turkey’s west

DHA photo

A migrant mother from has carried her dead daughter, wrapped in a blanket, for five kilometers after the Greece-bound inflatable boat carrying both of them capsized off western Turkey.

Ten-year-old Nergis Maghsoudi drowned early Dec. 14 after a boat heading to the Greek island of Lesbos, with 50 Afghan migrants aboard, capsized in international waters. 

Walking five kilometers to reach Ayvalık, a district in the northwestern province of Balıkesir, the young girl’s mother, 45-year-old Huzra Maghsoudi, carried Nergis’ dead body in a blanket before being picked up by Turkish gendarmerie forces.

The boat was reported to have sailed from Dikili, a district in the Aegean province of İzmir, with the migrants seeking to illegally cross the Greek border. The capsizing reportedly occurred somewhere between Dikili and Ayvalık, coastal towns on the Aegean Sea.

Those who survived the incident by swimming ashore claimed that their boat was intentionally capsized by Greek coast guards.

Turkish coast guards have launched search and rescue efforts to find those who went missing after the incident.

Geographically located between war-torn Syria and Iraq in the southeast and the EU member states of Bulgaria and Greece in the northwest, Turkey has become a transition point for migrants looking to illegally cross into the EU, fleeing violence in Iraq and Syria and seeking a higher standard of living.

The wave of migration across the Aegean Sea has often resulted in injuries and deaths due to both capsizing boats and abuse of migrants by human traffickers.

The number of migrants saved after failed attempts to reach Europe via sea routes from Turkey has increased by over 500 percent in 2015 compared to last year.

In 2014, the number of migrants rescued by Turkey’s coast guard and local institutions was 14,961, in 574 separate incidents, according to Prime Ministry figures. 

So far this year, the number is 79,489 migrants in 2,133 incidents. In addition, more than 200 smuggling gangs have been targeted in security operations launched by authorities over the last two years.